Super middleweight titlist Andre Ward says he's ready for his October 29 fight against Carl Froch, which is the final bout of the two-year Super Six World Boxing Classic tournament, and that he's not concerned about heading out of California for the fight. From Lem Satterfield at The RING:
"We're ready to come East. I am up for the challenge, and I'm fit for the challenge. I'm ready to do it. I've fought in Florida and Connecticut. Those are the only other times I've been East. ... It's not really a big deal. There are certain differences where sometimes it's a little harder because you have to find gyms to work out in leading up to the fight, but we have some connections on the East Coast. People, once again, made a big deal bout me getting to fight in my home down of Oakland, Calif., but I have ample stamps on my passport."
Ward (24-0, 13 KO) likes to talk about traveling abroad as an amateur, but he's mostly fought at home as a pro, and that's all anyone is really concerned with at this point. 16 of his 24 pro fights have been in California. Four of those have been in Oakland, and of his significant pro career, including his fights with Edison Miranda, Mikkel Kessler, Allan Green and Sakio Bika. Also, everyone in the Super Six has had to really travel, except for Ward. These are facts. He can blow it off as not a big deal, but he's fought at home for the entire tournament, while Froch (28-1, 20 KO) has thus far fought once at home in Nottingham, then Denmark, Finland, and Atlantic City. It's just different. It's not Ward's fault that his promoter was able to wrangle that, but it's real, not some criticism that has no basis.
Ward also had this to say about the stylistic matchup:
"People think that I'm more of a slick boxer and that I kind of try to stay off of the ropes. So I guess that they're looking at the notion of, 'Can I outbox Froch and can I stay away from him? Can I stay away from him enough that I can avoid taking punishment, and can I avoid being bullied by him?' I guess that that's the line that most people are using in the way that they're viewing this fight. But, you know, me personally, I disagree with that."
I think Ward is right that many see him as a slick fighter, but I also think Ward is right that the potential perceived style clash is not really the matchup we have here. For slickness, Ward is really overrated. Ward is not really what I would call "slick." Frankly, I think he's a much better bully fighter than Froch is. I don't think that's even close. We've seen Ward bully the hell out of Mikkel Kessler and Allan Green, we've seen him roughhouse with Sakio Bika, and we've seen him box the shoes off of Arthur Abraham and Edison Miranda. Ward is a good boxer, but I think what makes him the top fighter he is is that ability to adapt. Froch has the same thing, actually -- not in the same exact way, but he's also an adaptable fighter who can succeed in different situations and doesn't need Plan A to go perfectly to win.